10 Catchiest Metal Songs
When you think of heavy metal songs, the first words that come to your mind might be ‘intense,’ ‘powerful’ and in some cases, ‘demonic.’ But one word that may not pop in your head right away is ‘catchy.’ Metal music has not always been at the forefront of commercial culture, but just think about how many iconic metal tracks have turned up in television ads over the last few years. Not to mention, how many times do you hear metal songs used at sporting events to pump up a crowd? You’re probably already conjuring up guitar licks from Randy Rhoads, Tony Iommi, and Kirk Hammett in your heads. And why do those riffs so easily come to mind? Because they’re catchy, that’s why! So that got us thinking about the most infectious songs in metal history — and they have to rock, no ballads here. So get ready to sing along, as we bring you the 10 Catchiest Metal Songs.
One of the keys to a catchy song is making sure there’s something that sticks in your mind, and Ronnie James Dio‘s enunciation in ‘Holy Diver’ makes it a natural for our list. By putting the emphasis on ‘diver’ and ‘tiger’ in a certain manner not typically heard on those words, it stands out. Add in a driving melody and lyrics that are easy to sing along with, and ‘Holy Diver’ is like a piece of ear candy that keeps on giving.
Motorhead aren’t exactly a “singles” band, but ‘Ace of Spades’ will forever be one of their most recognizable tunes. Here’s one where the guitar play leads the way, with “Fast” Eddie Clarke providing a blistering piece of music for Lemmy Kilmister to sing over. The hyper-frenetic pacing of the song amps up most listeners, and being able to belt ‘The Ace of Spades / The Ace of Spades‘ along with Lemmy is simply the icing on the cake.
‘Run to the Hills’ would be the song that truly marked Bruce Dickinson‘s arrival in Iron Maiden, and in the process it became one of their biggest hits. Besides being a rather cool homage to the battle between European settlers and Native Americans in the New World, the song just rocked because of Dickinson’s powerful voice that kicked into full gear during the chorus.
The odd 12/8 time signature of Pantera‘s ‘Walk,’ led by the repetitive guitar riffing of Dimebag Darrell throughout makes this one of the simplest beats to follow. The song also makes the 10 Catchiest Metal Songs for one key element — the chant. While some may not be able to scream through gutteral verses like Phil Anselmo does, even the most timid fan can chant along to “Re – spect! / Walk! / Are you talking to me?“
With ‘Paranoid,’ Black Sabbath‘s Tony Iommi laid down one of the most recognizable opening riffs to a song. As if that didn’t call you to attention, the powerhouse vocals of Ozzy Osbourne melding perfectly with the band’s backing certainly should. Ironically, a song about being unable to find satisfaction in life has become one of the most satisfying tracks in both rock and metal history.
For catchiness, it’s hard to top the instantly recognizable lines, “Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.” It’s so good that it not only starts the song, but also ramps up the chorus. Add in the guitar attack of Slash and Izzy Stradlin, the specific beat of Steven Adler‘s drumming early on, and Axl Rose‘s signature wail, and you’ve got one of the catchiest songs ever.
It’s no wonder that Metallica‘s fifth album was the one that broke them to the masses when you have a song like ‘Enter Sandman’ leading the way. The hypnotic opening licks from Kirk Hammett building up into the aggression of the track has made the song an anthem. James Hetfield taking a well-known children’s prayer and incorporating it into a darkly-themed song didn’t hurt in grabbing the collective consciousness either.
One thing that is common in all of the 10 Catchiest Metal Songs is some excellent guitar work, and the interplay of Judas Priest‘s Glen Tipton and K.K. Downing keep the song both bouncy in some parts and chugging at other times, but compelling throughout. ‘Living After Midnight’ also delivers easy to understand lyrics and a certain energy in Rob Halford‘s vocals that just get stuck in your brain.
Some have argued that AC/DC songs sound incredibly similar, but as the saying goes, “If it’s not broke, why fix it?” ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ is one of the band’s biggest hits thanks to recognizable lyrics like, “She was a fast machine / she kept her motor clean / was the best damn woman that I ever seen.” How can you not love that visual image — especially when put to some great drumming and guitar work? All these years later, AC/DC are still knocking us out with this one.
Ozzy Osbourne‘s ‘Crazy Train’ was the first single released from ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ and the song’s upbeat message struck a chord with many. Randy Rhoads’ guitar work on the track made him one of the most respected guitarists going, and you’d be hard pressed not to find someone who won’t follow the sound of the vibraslap with “Ay, Ay, Ay” thanks to Osbourne. You’ve heard it, you know it, and ‘Crazy Train’ deserves its spot atop the 10 Catchiest Metal Songs.